Why is Jesus asking to hate one’s life? || Acharya Prashant, on Jesus Christ (2017)

Acharya Prashant
20 min readJun 24, 2024


“If anyone comes to me and doesn’t hate his

brother, father, wife and children and

his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

BIBLE (LUKE 14, VERSE 26–27)

Acharya Prashant:

Question says:

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and doesn’t hate his brother, father, wife and children and his own life, he cannot be my disciple”. What does this mean? Because it seems something opposite to what I have been hearing all my life.


I’ll repeat the verse quoted.

Luke 14, Verse 26–27, Jesus is saying “If anyone comes to me and doesn’t hate his brother, father, wife and children and his own life, he cannot be my disciple”.

Turbulent and choppy, hmm? But we’ll sail through it. “If anyone comes to me and doesn’t hate his brother, mother, father, wife and children and his own life,” you must read the series of the names backward — my own life , my children , my wife, my father, my mother , my brother . So what comes first in the list of those that Jesus says deserve to be hated? One’s own life. Jesus says, look at your life and see the kind of relationships you have established with your children, with your father, brother, mother, wife. And unless you are totally dissatisfied, how can you be my disciple? If you feel alright with the way you are, with the way relationships exist in the world, then remain satisfied then you need no improvement, and I’m not available to entertain you. I do not treat those who are not convinced of their sickness.

We live in relationships. A man never exists and a silo. You are always with somebody.

Aloneness is an elusive mirage for mankind. Real aloneness is a prerogative only of the Buddhas.

The others, they all live in mandatory relationship. I’m saying mandatory because they have brought themselves to a point where they cannot be alone.

We are always related. We always find our identity in the other through the other.

As you’re sitting here, you are related to the cold. As you are sitting here, your identity is being defined even by whether you have taken a bath today or not. Have you seen how your clothes define your identity? Every single thing that you are in contact with, starts defining you.

We exist as someone with respect to something or somebody or this or that, that is not the best way of existing, but that’s the de-facto mode of our existence.

We cannot deny that.

It’s another question whether that is ideal. It is another question whether that is natural. Are you getting it?

You know the extent to which we live in relationship? If there were nobody else in this room and only you were there, you would not be sitting as you are sitting right now. If I were to speak only to you, your listening would be very different. Now that is quite strange, because actually even right now I am speaking solely to you, but you are related. You have a compulsion to be related. You are related at this moment to every single person present in this room known or unknown, and every single person present in this room is defining your identity and hence your behavior.

The way you are looking at me wouldn’t have been possible had you been alone here. Your posture would have totally changed had you been sitting right in front of me, but you are related. You are related to a large number of people here. We don’t even know that others are continuously constructing us.

Your listening would change if a few more lights are switched on. Your listening would change if the temperature rises. Your listening would change if there is a noisy fellow in the room. Your listening gets interrupted when somebody starts coughing. You know what, your listening would change if you were wearing blue instead of yellow. Hah! Horror! Your listening would change if it was Wednesday instead of Sunday, that’s the extent to which things, situations, events outside of us define us.

If we are in a crowd, we are the crowd. The crowd is such a refuge.

That reminds me, take care of your posture, please. Because we are related, the posture would change our listening. Make sure you are sitting straight. Any obliqueness, any kind of angle interferes with direct communion. Make sure you are looking straight at me. It cannot be a sideways glance. And something has changed. It shouldn’t have actually. It shouldn’t have. It is useful in that it changes so the teacher can use your posture as a method, but it is equally unfortunate that meditation depends on posture. It is both useful and unfortunate.

When you have methods of meditation and you sit down to meditate, you are suggested to have certain postures, asanas . They are useful. But even as they are useful, it’s such a tragedy that they are needed. If man really were man before he ate the apple, he shouldn’t have needed any method, any posture. But we all are lovers of the serpent, what to do? So Jesus says to look at how others shape you, define you, and how eager you are to shape and define others and thereby dominate them.

All your life you live in fear because you are constituted of others even you are constituted of others you know very well that the others can at any point withdraw their respective constituents. Something here has been provided by your husband, close to the liver, and he can recall it any time, and you are living in perpetual fear. The fear wouldn’t have been there if either of the two conditions were satisfied. If it were so that this didn’t belong to the husband you wouldn’t have had fear, or if it were so that you and your husband were unified through Love of God , even then you wouldn’t have had any fear. But neither do you have freedom neither are you independent in the sense that you are not constituted of the other nor do you have Love . If you have love then you can take everything from others and yet sleep peacefully because you know that no tragedy is going to befall as you sleep.

The little kid willingly asks for whatever he wants to from the mother, and he takes stuff and keeps it. When I am eating my rabbits come and they eat from my plate. They don’t seek my permission. It is a rudimentary form of love. Not the love of the Buddha kind, but still, pure prakritik Love . It does not hesitate. It does not live in fear. It does not see boundaries. It does not say, ‘His plate is his and my plate is mine’.

Are you getting it?

We live in relationships. We are made of others, and we are afraid that we might crumble anytime, that there might be a run upon us at any time. Have you heard of a thing called a run upon a bank? All the people who have deposited their money in the bank, if they decide to withdraw their money at the same time, then the bank would crash because the bank takes your money and invests it somewhere else. The bank extends loans from the money, from the deposits that you have made to the bank. The bank really does not have your money.

If all of you who have deposited your money in the bank go to the bank and say we all want our money, and all want it right now, the bank will have no money to give to you. You too are severely afraid of a run upon yourself. You are indebted. You have liabilities, and you are just relying on chance that the liabilities won’t be called into question recently, in the near future, or at the same time. And the one who is afraid is equally violent. You know only one way of living which is a dependency, that is the only mode of relationship that we know. The other two modes, Freedom and Love , man has rejected them. Men left them with the serpent. So we are equally eager to bring up our children in the same way.

Jesus is saying to look at a relationship with your wife and children . See how you are bringing up your children, your little brother, your little sister. See how you want your life to bear your imprint. See how eager you are that your child shines and helps your name shine. Ah!! The name of the kid must carry your name, right? And when the child would succeed in the eyes of the world, you would raise your hand and say ‘Mine,’ ‘Mine’.

It’s not so bad to be stuck there. But it’s too bad to be stuck and yet not be eager of redemption. Jesus is saying, it’s acceptable if you are somehow in that unfortunate situation. I’ll take you in, but it’s not at all acceptable if you are in that situation and do not hate your situation. Jesus is saying “Ah! he’s not mincing word. He’s strong, direct, young man, the in your face kind”. He is not saying you must dislike your life. He is not saying, “Well, you must investigate into your life, go into it, look at it, watch it, witness it.” He is not saying you must improve your life. He is just banging it upfront, ou must hate your life, and unless you hate your life you can’t be my disciple, Point black. No wonder he was crucified. We don’t like such people, do we?

People who speak the direct and blunt truth are anathematic to us. You must hate your life. You must be full of disgust towards yourself. So must look at your hands, your face and say, Ah! Ah! I am filthy, I don’t want to live like this. There must be a burning desire to either improve or simply die. We don’t have that disgust. We are not repugnant towards ourselves. We are very tolerant. We preach tolerance as a virtue. We say whatever it is, just accept it.

In fact, in the name of spirituality, there is a cult of acceptance now spreading wide, accept it, accept it. Yes, you are horrible, accept it. Yes, you are again going to spoil something, accept it. Accept yourself as you are. What exactly do you mean by that? I stink. No, accept yourself as you are. Just don’t take a bath.

To take a bath you must, first of all, dislike the stink. Shouldn’t you?

It would be a horrible day when stink becomes acceptable. It would mean that your decay is now irreversible. Stink is the method that nature uses to tell you that decay is round the corner. Have you seen how it happens in physical nature? When decay is about to start or when decay is happening, then a stink rises. When does foul smell rise from bread? Why don’t you eat lentils or curries or bread or any kind of food that has now started smelling? Why? Because of the smell? No. The smell can be removed. You can put some masala in it and the smell would be hidden, and that’s what many people do. If food is stale or smelling, they would spice it up, pungent spices, and they would cover up the smell, the foul smell. Is it the smell that you must avoid?

Listener: No.

AP: What then? Even if you cover up the smell, the fact is that the food is?

L: Rotten.

AP: Bad, decaying. Not acceptable into your system. The smell is not the disease. The smell is the indicator that you must not have this. Are you getting it? That’s the device that nature uses, and that’s why flowers have a nice aroma. Nature is telling the insects ‘Come over, Party!’. The smell is the invitation. The smell is the invitation. If you are someone who is now following the God of acceptance, then your decay now is inevitable. Existence is now telling you, do something about this food, do something about your surroundings, do something about your body, your relationships. It’s stinking, and you are saying, “No. It’s okay, I accept, I accept.” So you accept and you eat the smelling bread and then?

L: Food Poisoning.

AP: Haw!!! And then what do you say? God is unjust. Life is unfair. Did God tell you to eat that? All the signs were there. Existence was prompting you to get away, and what did you do? You still put your mouth in it. Nobody deceived you. In fact existence was trying to help you. You said “No. I’m wiser than my advisor. I don’t need to listen”. You must learn to hate. Ah!! So unspiritual. Is this really a Holy Satsang? Bloody baba is a hate monger. Did you listen to what he just said? What did he say? You must learn to hate. Ah!! But so did Jesus. Ah! it’s another matter that you killed him, It’s okay.

You must learn to Hate . Spirituality is not for tepid, timid souls who can neither Love nor Hate . Your love must be a burning fire and your hate must have the same intensity. It’s just that you must know whom to love and what to Hate . And when you really know where to go to and what to avoid like death, then your movement whether towards or against, has a certain sureness, a certain power, a certain intensity, that intensity reflects in the choice of the word ‘hate,’ not ‘dislike,’ Intense dislike, and why intense? Because you know for sure that something is poisonous, not for you, it will ruin, so you Hate.

You are not lukewarm. You are not saying, “Well, let’s keep it on hold, well Let’s take it offline. I don’t think it’s very good.” You know, these are the cultured ways of putting across your impotent dislike. ‘It’s not very good. Well, it’s not the best way’. Why don’t you say it’s the worst way? But you won’t say it’s the worst way, what do you say? It’s not the best way. The fellow had a wide swing, not at all needed at that time. A mad rush of blood and his middle stump got uprooted and the commentator says, “that’s not the best shot he ever played”. Ah! That’s not the best shot he ever played? I understand the nuances of language. I understand subtlety, but you must be very careful when subtlety becomes a cover for stupidity.

I’m not asking you to be gross. There must be fineness in your behavior, conduct, mind, and language but often that fineness is used as a cover-up. You don’t want to speak the truth. You don’t want to put things as they are. So, you use language to obfuscate. Ah! that’s not the best shot you ever played.

Hate, and then pay the price. You’ll be resurrected. You’ll appear dead for no more than three days as happens after the break-up. For three days you’re dead, and then if you are broken up really really from the false one, then the God-lover comes to pick you up on the third day. The third day is the day of your sanction. Break up, and lie dead for three days. Without eating, without taking bath as happens. You know that right? You’ve had enough of them.

And it’s so tragic if you haven’t had enough of them, please break up.

Spirituality is the art of breaking up. God doesn’t come to those who are already engaged.

There was that song. It was nothing but a populist and meaningless Bollywood number, but I liked it. If you can listen to it a little deeper.

“I broke up with my dear beloved today.”

She’s actually celebrating. She’s actually celebrating the breakup. Anybody who can recall the lyrics? Oh, you can, of course, c’mon.

L: “I broke up with my dear beloved today.”

AP: That’s what I know. I think there is a mention of party, breakup ki party. It’s good, play that

L: The break-up song, strengthens the Heart.

AP: Goli(pointing to one of the volunteers) is playing that, Anshu.

L: There is a line, “I cried a lot for some days”

AP: Three days

AP: Ah! sing this one.Who will sing this song? I have left him

[object Object]

*breakup song,strengthens the feeling of the heart, four and a half minutes long,breakup song. for an English bird,he broke my desi heart. I left, yep, left him.his dark deeds have exposed him.I left, yep, left him. I kept a stone on my heart (means I with a heavy heart)I applied makeup on my face, and broke up with my dear beloved today.I got up early in the morning* *and did all of this. I broke up with my dear beloved today.*when did you do this without telling us?

AP: that’s the world. It is saying, “even before breaking up, take my permission.”

Spirituality is hard and tight, not soggy. It’s not spongy. It’s upright, not flaccid. Especially if you are coming to Jesus.

Are you getting it? Jesus goes to this fellow, I don’t know whether I’m recalling a single story or whether two of them are getting merged in my memory, but you’ll get the essence. So there’s this fellow who’s fishing in a pond or somewhere, and Jesus goes to him and starts watching him. He’s silent, very meditative. Partly that’s a requirement of the work that he’s doing. When you are fishing you can’t dance about. But partly It’s because of something within the man. He’s a young man.

Jesus is a lover of youth. His retinue didn’t have old and the aged. All relatively roaring, green ones.

So, Jesus asks him, I don’t know whether he really ask, but that’s how I recall and that’s how I want to present it. Is it just for fishing? Is life just for fishing? Will you continue to just catch fish? Is that what it’s all about? And Jesus apparently does not know that man and that man does not know Jesus. From nowhere, with no build-up, no context, Jesus has shot these words, is it just about fishing? But the man understands. He looks at the waters for a while, he looks at his fishing line, he looks at his catch, and then he looks at the face of Jesus. No words exchanged, not much said, no explanations needed, no preface, no certainties. Just this much. Is life meant to keep fishing? And the fellows says after a minute of silence “I want to come with you”.

He does not even know who Jesus is, where he is going, and whether he would allow him to come with him. But the fellow says “May I come with you? ” Jesus nods. The fellow starts coming after Jesus, and as they have gone little distance, a man comes running towards them. He says to this new found friend of Jesus, “I was looking for you, come, return. Your father has just died”. That’s the thing with Maya. She strikes at the most opportune time. You’ll find that happening in your life as well. Right when you are breaking away, something would happen that would hold you back. Right at the moment of departure, she’ll try to behold you with something. She’ll try to arrest you with something, and that will happen precisely at the moment of your departure.

It happens in every single camp that leaves for the hills. One or two, or sometimes even four or five, have to cancel their plans in the last moment. The child has suddenly fallen sick. The wife has suddenly gone mad. I can’t come now. It just happens this way as if kids know the precise moment when to fall sick, and once the flight is missed, the kid is alright again. The train got canceled. Ah!! Even the whole railways are subservient to her. Some contingency has arisen. Oh, I was coming but my friends. . . .

Don’t you see it’s just Maya, and she knows when to strike?

So this messenger comes from the village and tells this young man, “your father has just died” as if death knows when to take away the old man. He could have died a week later as well. But the death says, “no, that would be too late. Hit him now. He’s any way of no use. Better prepone the departure”. Now the young man is a bit befuddled. Something new has suddenly entered his life. It’s a sudden breakaway. But the father has played his last move. Even in his death, the father has assured that the son would remain captive. Jesus keeps walking. The young man halts. Jesus pauses him, looks at him. The young man is now in a dilemma. He asks Jesus “May I go? I’ll bury my father and come back”. Jesus says, “Let the dead bury the dead, you come towards life”.

There is anyway enough number of dead people in your village to bury this dead man. If you go there, you will be walking into a dead straight. Let the dead bury the dead, you come with me. Are you getting it? That must be the intensity of your disenchantment. That must be the totality of your disengagement. I am so very disengaged that I won’t return even to bury you, and by this, it does not mean that you have to be disengaged with a person.

Jesus is not a hater of persons. Jesus is saying hate the way you have become. Hate the way you are leading your life. In fact, the Bible says, “Unless you love each other exactly as God has loved you, you will not be redeemed”. The Bible is not a document of hate, the central message is of Love. Love each other just as God the Father has loved you. So it’s not about hating persons, It’s about hating the way you have become. Jesus is not telling the young man “hate your father”. He’s saying “Hate the way you have been living so far”. Your decision to return and your decision to spend your time, while away your life fishing is one at the same thing. If you return today to your village, then the rest of your life is again going to be wasted away in fishing.

Jesus is not provoking a son against the father. Jesus is cautioning the man against wasting his life.

A Jesus has not arrived to divide the world. He arrives to unify people. But if the very substance of your mind is divided, then first of all you have to be divided against yourself.

Understand this, if you are full of divisions, then another division has to be created, a division in which all that that divides you internally has to be kept on the other side. A line has to be drawn.

Persons don’t exists, only relationships exists. And when relationships changes, you’ll find that the person has changed.

No real Guru would ever preach the gospel of alienation. Aloneness and alienation are not the same things. They are very very different.

We are alienated, and that is why we are in relationships. We are in relationships so that our alienation can somehow remain hidden and suppressed,

and that is why when relationships are not there then we become restless. We start dialing the numbers, ‘when are you coming? To whom can I talk?’, Eighty-four missed calls. Trying to talk to him, him, her, her, her. We are alienated and therefore our relationships are a cover-up. Jesus is trying to divide us against our alienation.

When you are not alienated, you are alone. And in aloneness there is real relationship, there is real love.

We say we are family men. But look at the condition of the world, and eighty, ninety, ninety-five percent of the people of this world do belong to some family or the other, right? You’ll find very few people who do not come from any family. So the world is largely constituted of people from families, and yet the world is such a horrible place. Suffering, rushing towards its quick annihilation.

When you do not have God or Truth, then you try to find cheap substitutes. Anything that becomes just a substitute for God and family is such a quick substitute.

Do not use the family as a substitute for God . With God , now go to the family, and now you will find that your relationship your family is totally different. It’s a relationship that is now alive. It’s a relationship in which there is beauty, and now your relations with your family do not divide you against the world. You do not say, “these five people are my family and their interests have to be served at any cost. These five people are my family and that means that the rest of the world is stranger.”

Now your relationship with these five people would be such that it would be the six of you and the world, and these six would be held together by the fact that they are with the world. It’s a strange thing.

Usually, we think that if two people have to be together then they can be together only if they are, in some sense, against the world. They are holding each other’s hands and have decided to look at the world as a separate third entity. The two of us are here, and the world is there. The world, the entire world is a third entity. And often they mistakenly feel that the more their mutual bonding is, the more they would be distant from the world, that’s often the common way in which people are related, that’s a common way in which relationships exist — the two of us versus the third party which is the world.

In the world of Jesus, it happens differently, it happens really and much more beautifully. Now, the more you are with the world, the more you are with each other. Now, it’s not about this being against that. Now, it is not as if you are with the world then this bond will suffer. Now, it is not about this or that. Now, it is this and that. Because I have an inclusive, intimate, real relationship with the world, that is why my relationship with you too is more intimate, more beautiful, more truthful and real, and that is, but natural.

The more the man who knows how to have a real relationship wouldn’t have a real relationship only in one particular case because he knows how to walk on the road, he also knows how to live in his house.

It is not possible that you know very well how to live in your house but you do not know how to relate on the road. Yes, Jesus is talking against a relationship, but he is talking against a particular kind of relationship. The closed, exclusive, stinking relationship, that’s what he’s disliking.

When that closedness goes away, when that exclusivity goes away, when the falseness goes away, then you understand the real message of the Bible. Love each other as your Father loves you.

Are you getting it? And you cannot Love each other unless you love the other exactly as the father Loves you. Look at the Love of the Father , and tell me what are the characteristics of his Love . First of all his Love is total and unconditional. Secondly, in his Love, there is total freedom. Thirdly, his Love is not exclusive, and there could be many more statements that you could figure out. That’s the way your Love for your neighbor, your brother, you kid, your father, your husband, your wife should be.

Love that includes total Freedom . Love that does not demand anything. Love in which there is tremendous space for the other to learn and grow. Love in which you do not dominate or impose your will. God might be called almighty but have you ever seen him imposing ‘his’ will? All he has given you is the law of action, Karma .

You will get what you deserve. I do not impose my will, that’s what God says.

If you choose to suffer, you will suffer. If you choose me you will come to me, and God is prepared. If you do not choose me, I’m not going to complain. If you do not choose me then you can continue having the world.

If you do not choose me, continue to wallow in your own private universe. I’m not going to gatecrash, that’s the kind of Love God has. I will be a distant watcher. Distant, yet intimate, because I watch everything. I am so intimate that I watch everything. I’ll be a watcher, I’ll not interfere. The moment you will require me I’ll be there to extend my hand. And when I will extend my hand I’ll not ask for a payment. I’m a lover, not a trader. This is the way God loves you.

And this is the way you must Love each other. And that is why this Jesus hates the way we relate with each other because our love is not Godly. Our love carries none of the fragrance of the Love of God . God loves us in one particular way, and we Love each other in totally different ways.

When God loves us he sets us free. When we Love each other we chain each other.

Are you getting it?